Encourage federal energy bill

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Many of us in Nebraska -- particularly those in rural areas -- are strongly in favor of federal energy legislation which would mandate increased use of ethanol and other bio-fuels.

There is opposition from senators in two heavily populated states, New York and California, because they are concerned about the cost of tranporting ethanol from the central United States to the coasts. Also, they are citing out-dated statistics which contend that the added fuel value of ethanol is offset by the energy cost to produce it.

Because of increased efficiency in ethanol production, this is no longer true. Ethanol does extend the production power of gasoline, and lawmakers are right to encourage additional use of ethanol on a national basis.

The United States is far too reliant on foreign oil. It's time for the House and Senate to resolve their differences and send the energy bill to President Bush for approval.

Takeover Study Needed

The Omaha Public School district is attempting to take over parts of the Millard, Ralston and Elkhorn school districts. By so doing, the Omaha district has cast an entirely new light on the legislation which will require Class I elementary school districts to merge with k-12 (kindergarten through 12th grade) districts.

Until the Omaha district started the takeover attempt, many in Nebraska were not aware that larger districts had that power.

If a district is functioning to the satisfaction of the citizens it serves, why should that district be forced to submit to a takeover attempt? That is similar to the question being asked by Class I's. If the district serves the needs of students and is supported by taxpayers, why should it be forced to consolidate?

There are other factors, of course. Equality in educational opportunity is one cited by State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha in his support of the law which permits the Omaha district to take over smaller districts.

But the rights of students and citizens in smaller districts need to be respected, too. Before final action is allowed on the Omaha Public Schools' takeover attempt, the law and the process needs to be reviewed by the Nebraska Legislature.

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